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MLB Draft: New Jersey’s Shore Conference Shines in First Round


The Shore Conference sure has seen its fair share of baseball talent over the years. From former pitchers Al Leiter and JM Gold, to current Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, the baseball talent in New Jersey’s northern shore area has been nothing short of spectacular.

On Thursday night in Secaucus, New Jersey, two more Shore Conference superstars were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First- Year Player Draft.

The first was Barnegat High School ace, Jason Groome. Groome, considered the most talented player in the draft, was selected No. 12 overall by his favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.

The 6-foot-5 left-hander has a mid 90s fastball and is currently ranked the No. 1 prospect by

Groome became the sixth player with Shore Conference ties to be drafted in the first round. He was also the second lowest drafted in the conference’s history behind only Jeff Kunkel of Middletown North who was selected third overall by the Texas Rangers in 1983.

Groome will now have to decide if he wants to sign with the Red Sox or attend Chipola Junior College, a powerhouse JUCO school that he reportedly recently committed to after dropping his commitment with Vanderbilt University.

If Groome decides to sign, the Red Sox will have deeply bolstered their pitching depth. In 2016, after forfeiting two games, including a no-hitter due to an illegal transfer rule, following Groome’s transfer from IMG Academy in Florida back to Barnegat before his senior season. Groome finished 1-3 with two losses coming 1-0 and 2-1.

Groome has been compared to Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and San Fransisco Giants superstar Madison Bumgarner.

Following Groome was Jackson Memorial and University of Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss. Thaiss was selected by the Los Angeles Angels at No. 16, just a year after being selected in the 32nd round by the Red Sox in 2015.

After declining to sign with the Red Sox, Thaiss helped lead Virginia to the 2015 NCAA College World Series Championship hitting .323 with 10 home runs and 64 RBIs.

With the selections of both Groome and Thaiss, this became the first year in the history of the MLB Draft that two Shore Conference players were selected in the first round.





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